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I would like to wish all practitioners around the world a very happy and healthy New Year . At this time each year, many will make New Year Resolutions. Martial Artists must realize they should be exempt from this practice. Failure to do so would call into question why we recite the student oath each night before training. When saying those words out loud in front of those you respect, is that not the time to realize improvement is needed? Why wait when immediate action would rectify the problem? The journey of a Martial Artist is a long path with no ending. Martial Artists are remembered for how far along the path they were able to travel before death. How far will you get if you only walk once a year?

As we know, there are those who practice and teach Do. There are still others who practice and teach only Taekwon. The vast majority will believe they are following the Do even if they are not. Faulting them for it though is a little rash for if they only evaluate themselves once a year, it is likely they would not notice. For those striving to follow the Do they will realize they need improvement and work on it daily, this is the same principle we apply to technique. As an example, if you find yourself engaged in an argument and become unruly, are you following a resolution to finally stand up for yourself? Or, are you simply creating a resolution to be made later about being more level headed. This is a difficult question that requires more than merely thinking about it once a year. Daily thought will likely see your opinion change several times and then after much thought, the correct answer comes to you and improvement can be implemented immediately.

In modern society it has become fashionable to judge others and ignore the self. This, of course is due to a lack of integrity. As Instructors stand in front of class and teach the meaning of integrity, some forget that they themselves are still students. These Instructors are lacking integrity and are exploiting their students through their dishonesty. This characteristic is extremely difficult to correct because this type of person is likely to lash out when their integrity is questioned. It is difficult to comprehend how a thinking person could miss that sort of behaviour as a sign that integrity is severely lacking. The thick veil of egotism has covered their eyes and has stunted their development as Martial Artists and people of Do. As time passes, we are seeing less true Martial Artists and more phonies who have only studied Do so it can be used as a weapon to judge and attack others. They use the student oath and the Do to empower themselves while becoming nothing more than primary school bullies. They deceive their students by lamenting the loss of Do in others and take immoral actions while using Do as an excuse for doing so. Each act of deception and dishonesty is somehow cast aside when they use their loyalty to the Do as justification for their behaviour. This type of person is lost in an endless loop and is doomed to continue their destructive pattern of behaviour unless they can first realize they are lost and then simply stop and ask for direction. The most tragic thing is that in most cases they only have to ask themselves.

If you have found yourself making new year resolutions this year, resolve to make this the final time. Resolve to become a person of Do. The behaviours of the past must be emptied so new behaviour can be adopted. Dont cheat yourself into believing you have found Do when an impartial view of your behaviour would indicate you have not even come close, indeed you are far from it. It is a difficult journey however we all owe it to ourselves, to Taekwon-Do and to our students to take it.

Yours In Taekwon-Do
Choi, Jung Hwa

Written by: President Choi - 2nd February 2006

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